It is a jungle out there! Remember when you just started your paleo journey? First you thought, “Oh my gosh, I’ll never be able to pull this off!” Then after doing some research you reached a point when you thought, “Hey, this is sooo easy! I just limit my food to meat, vegetables, and fruit.” You knew to stay away from the center aisles of the grocery store. You knew that in produce there was a Dirty Dozen (produce you should buy organic) and a Clean 15 (produce you don’t have to buy organic). Dairy was the mother’s milk of another species and therefore a no no for you. After a few months of living and eating and breathing paleo, you lost a lot of weight, your skin glowed, your slept better… and you were a total pro, who could not stop talking about how awesome this paleo thing is. You told your family and friends and you ignored the fact that they felt maybe a tad annoyed by you, because some of them actually were curious enough to come and ask you questions. You educated them on all the wonderful benefits of paleo, and thought life couldn’t possibly get any better.
You’re with me, yes? You’re at a place in life where you are SURE you’re doing everything right, because every paleo guru, every book you’ve read agrees. Paleo is awesome! It’s healthy, it is a millions of years old “fad diet” (as some of the nay-sayers like to call it), and it works! One day you browse the web for all of your usual stuff… Facebook, Twitter, Sisson, Wolf, Balanced Bites… and you stumble on an article on dairy. You find there’s this thing call primal rather than paleo, and on this primal diet you CAN eat dairy, because research suggests that high quality dairy (raw milk, butter etc) can be beneficial to some people. You read a little more, and you jump for joy. Welcome back, cheese!! Primal is awesome!!
You’re at a place in life where you are SURE you’re doing everything right… because… wait, what was that? Green beans are okay to eat, despite the fact that they’re a legume? Let’s google that. Cool! Mr. Google agrees. Green beans are a rehabilitated legume.
You’re at a place in life where you are SURE you’re doing everything right… WOW! You can bake muffins, and brownies, and cake on the paleo/primal/one legume diet? Sure enough, you find all of these great recipes online for almond flour this, and almond flour that, and you’re thrilled. You bake bread, and cakes, and brownies, and all kinds of other great things. Primal most definitely is awesome!!
You’re at a place in life where you are SURE… What is it this chick on the interwebs says? Avoid almond flour, because it is high in this and low in that, and really not that great for you? Okay, fine, you’ll bake less. Because you will most definitely NOT quit baking all together.
You’re at a place in life… about a year or two into this journey, where you’re just not sure what is right anymore! What is going on? Why are people telling you that you can eat something, only to change their minds about it later? Why was rice not allowed, and now white rice IS allowed as an occasional treat? And what’s the story on sugar anyway? Is it good or is it bad? Do you drink that milk or leave it? How much almond flour is too much? Why is everything so difficult? Didn’t it start out easily?
You find yourself being bombarded with new information ALL THE TIME!
And you know what I say to this? AWESOME! Please, remember, as you walk down this path, that we (all of us) are a work in progress. We don’t have all the answers for everything. We live in the 21st century with great technology and science, and as long as there are scientists hard at work, you WILL find that something you’re eating is not so good, or that something you’re not eating really is great. Thanks to our modern science we have the ability to constantly improve. Reaching the decision to eat paleo doesn’t mean that you’re done learning. And why would you want to be done? You’ve just embarked on an amazing new journey!
Our understanding of what exactly makes our bodies respond in certain ways is still so very limited. Could we cure cancer by perfecting our diet? There are scientists out there right now, trying to answer this question. Personally, I’m grateful for every new piece of information. I choose not to let it drive me crazy. I choose to take it as a learning opportunity. You should, too.
Don’t get discouraged, when you find out something new. Instead, embrace it, learn from it, and move on.
And finally, use your brain! Don’t blindly follow someone else’s lead. Do your own homework. Research. Study. And then do what works best for you. If dairy for instance is something you love, it doesn’t make you sick, and you feel fantastic, then have at it. You are in charge of you. And when you choose to eat or not eat certain foods, only you will benefit from your decisions! My paleo may be different from your paleo, but it works for me, and so this is how I’ll do it… until I learn something new and make an adjustment… or not. 🙂